If you have received a worker’s compensation award for an injury sustained while at your job, they may affect how your assets are divided and how your contributions to child support are calculated during your divorce proceedings.
When an employee suffers an injury while working, they may receive a worker’s compensation award. An employee is eligible if their injuries are related to their duties of employment and the injury had to have been sustained while the employee was complying with company policy. For example, an employee that is injured at work while intoxicated would not be eligible for benefits.
The payment received through worker’s compensation is supposed to replace a personal injury claim that you would instead file against your employer or the employer’s insurance company.
Effects of Worker’s Compensation on Divorce Proceedings
Perhaps the most significant factors of your worker’s compensation and its effect on your divorce will be the state where you are getting divorced and the conditions of your award.
If your state designates worker’s compensation as a personal injury award, there may be a few different ways the court will treat your case:
- The portion of your compensation covering lost wages and medical bills will be designated as marital property.
- If the above compensation is awarded before or after marriage, then they are not marital assets.
- If your state of residence considers worker’s compensation like disability pay, then the money you received during your marriage will be considered marital property by the court. However, money received before or after the marriage ends is solely yours.
- The money you received while married is marital property if your state treats worker’s compensation claims as replacement for lost wages.
How Workers’ Compensation Affects Child Support
Even if your worker’s compensation award is considered separate property by the state, it is still income that will be considered when calculating child support payments. Payments are not simply dismissed even when a parent is injured. If you are too injured to work, the money you were awarded will be included in the judge’s process of assigning responsibility for payments. Failure to pay support will also result in garnishment of your award for overdue payments.
A parent can also motion in a written request to the court for a reduction in their child support payments if they are making lower wages than normal. In order to avoid falling behind in payments, it is imperative to file paperwork for a reduction immediately.
Work with child support lawyers Plano, TX residents trust if you have any questions about your child support responsibilities and how they may be affected by a personal injury or worker’s compensation. This can be a difficult process to navigate and you’ll need the help of someone knowledgeable about these complicated matters.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Scroggins Family Law for their insight into child support.